Football Season Preview

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Football Season Preview

Photo Credit: CistercianFootball

Photo Credit: CistercianFootball

Photo Credit: CistercianFootball

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The school year always starts with the best part of the year: football season. What better way to get away from the stress of your new, harder classes than to come out with friends on a Friday night and watch the Hawks take on a lesser opponent? And once you’ve exhausted all of your social skills trying to interact with girls (probably unsuccessfully), you may find yourself actually watching and cheering for the game you came to watch. But what are you expecting from your Hawks this year, who are going to be the playmakers, and the big money question: are we going to have a championship game this season? Here’s what you can expect in the upcoming season.

The Hawks had a strong season last year, with a 6-3 record, brushing close to another championship, as well as one of the highest scoring averages a Hawk team has ever had at this school, and one of the best defensive records as well. This was in no small part due to a strong senior class backed up by sturdy junior and sophomore classes. The offensive barrage from Jimmy Garda, Harry Crutcher, and Lucas Watt left opponents in shambles in the run game, and Campbell Keating and Nate Sanchez were two powerful offensive and defensive linemen. On top of this, the senior class had plenty of depth, with about half of the Class of 2019 playing. They left big shoes to fill, and the torch passes to the Class of 2020 to lead the next season.

One might get a sinking feeling in their stomach when they hear that only six seniors will be playing for the Cistercian Hawks this football season, but wait until you hear the lineup. Our offensive line will be the first Hawk line with each player being over 200 lbs. in several years (Expected: Alex Ardemagni, Henry Parmenter, Matt Donohoe, Aidan Chance, and Brandon Williamson), and those players all have very solid lifts to back up their weights. Carrying the ball, with his famous 500… …pound squat and 5.6 strength index, Kaosi Unini is excited to step into the spotlight and run the ball faster than the lion, and with him, Jack Schieferdecker follows in his older brother’s shoes as starting quarterback. With this combo of line and backfield, the run game this year looks nearly unstoppable, and the passing game is nothing to scoff at either. Coach Burk’s intricate offensive masterminding allows for us to turn from a run team to a passing team in the flip of a coin, leaving the opposing team’s defense in tatters.

On the other side of the ball, no team will ever want to run the ball against the Hawk defense. Connor Popolo has already shown himself to be a terrifying defensive lineman, and David Cox and myself will be starting linebackers, each of us packing powerful lifts and very quick feet. Sam Laber leads the defensive backs at free safety, and with his football IQ and knowledge of the game, the team should be secure both in the trenches and down the field. Not to mention of course, we’ve got the best long snapper in the SPC, Preston Barron, who’s looking to play D1 football at Tulsa University or University of Arizona. Yes, we’ve lost our seniors, but we’re more than ready to accommodate for these changes, and look to come back for an even stronger season.

The first weeks of practice have merely confirmed what looks to be a promising season. Our offense, though simple in principle, shows itself to be tricky and constantly keeping the defense on its toes. The moment an opponent thinks it has the run game covered, David Cox or Zain Dabbous at tight end run quick routes to punch holes in the defense. Our defense packs a variety of coverages for any offensive formation, and with rising sophomores Eli Sanford and Devon Comstock snatching starting positions as defensive backs on varsity, they’ve more than earned their positions with the number of interceptions they’ve gotten. The team’s put in the work every grueling, humid morning, and is more than ready to showcase its power on Friday nights.

Looking at our opponents this year, our team is not the only one who’s lost their seniors. John Cooper, one of our few game losses last year, has lost their stellar quarterback and some of their receivers, and that game should be looking like a victory this season. Cassidy, Trinity Valley, Colleyville Covenant, and St. Stephen/St. Austin all have seen similar hits to their teams, and with the same offensive strategies of last season, we should be set to take those victories easily. Our biggest challenge this season lies in our homecoming game, Fort Worth Country Day. They took arguably the worst loss from our 2018 team, and some of their best players were juniors last year, stronger and more prepared for this coming season. The spirit of revenge will blaze strong this season, and homecoming will be nothing less than a bloodbath.

So with all that in mind, will the Hawks be blazing the warpath this season on the way to a championship game? After waiting fourteen long years, will this finally be our chance to win an SPC Championship? With the strong lineup on both the offensive and defensive sides, we’ve certainly got the team to make it happen, and not to mention the motivation and dedication. Strength and Conditioning had one of the highest attendances this summer and also some of the biggest gains, and the team is more optimistic than they ever have been before. I know I speak for my fellow football seniors and the rest of the team as well when I say that the numbers don’t scare me at all – I know what we’re all capable of, I know that we’ll strike fear into our opponents on the field, and I can’t wait to show all of you what we’ve been training for since November of 2018. After all the hard work we have put in, this could very well finally be our year to win it all.

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